Friday, January 30, 2015

Trying out an Emergency Essentials dinner meal

What a day I had yesterday.  I started off the day by forgetting to say good morning to Boy before I left the house.  I said good morning to Girl then got distracted.  Then I almost hit a fox that was drinking water out of a puddle on the side of the road.  The car scared it and it ran right in front of me.  I was able to slow down and missed it.  Got to work and had a good, smooth day, until almost time to go home. 

Army daughter, her husband, and cute little granddaughter moved to Houston in October.  On my way home AD called to say that they may move back within the next six months or so.  What? They are making rash decision after rash decision and losing a bunch of money each time they do.  I told her if they aren’t going to stay in Houston then think big.  Why come back to the Great Central Valley?  Didn’t you want to leave because of the bad air quality?  Now is the time to really plan something.  You can choose anywhere in this country.  Anywhere!  And I’m not promising that I’m going to stay here so don’t come because I’m here.  AD said that I’m here now, so they may move back just for that.  Stupid decision.  On the other hand I’d love to have them back.  I could use someone to watch Boy and Girl when I travel.  And I miss cute little granddaughter, oh, and AD and son-in-law too.

AD will want to talk about it more later.  As I was sitting at my desk with my mind wandering…sorry about that great employer of mine… I got a phone call.  The person asked for me.  They said I didn’t know them but they had a report I wrote back in 1996 and the regulators are asking that someone updates the report since it’s so old.  This person wanted to know if I would be interested in updating the report.   A day in the field and a day on the computer:  Two days work for about a week of pay.   I may just say yes, other than I’m not sure if I want to give up a weekend.

I won a contest! Luck of the draw.  I won the book  A Time to Endure by Kyle Pratt.  Looking forward to reading it and I’ll give you my thoughts on it when I finish.  Thanks!  (And my name isn't Dee.  Dee didn't respond to the email that she won, so they picked again!)

Last week I bought Emergency Essentials Dinner Bucket One Month Supply for $119 less a $10 off coupon plus free shipping from  It sounded interesting because it had 126 individually packaged single servings.  That’s a little less than $1.00 per item.  Sounds good until you realize that 62 of them are individual drink servings.  That’s ok, it still means about $2.00 per serving for a meal or meal portion.  I thought it would be good to keep the bucket at work or even in the trailer and car.  We were very excited when the bucket came in a plain brown box.  No screaming FOOD PREP here!  While I’d rather buy from a small prepping company, I’m not always thrilled when the boxes have their name splashed all over. 

We opened the bucket and each meal was individually packaged in heavy white plastic. (*note -Tonight I used the potato soup mix and noted that they are in Mylar pouches not plastic.  But the Mylar is covered with a white layer.) The air wasn’t removed.   It was not easy to tear open the packages so I cut them open.   While it said a month of dinners, not including the drinks there are 64 packages.  Some items used two packages (noodles and sauce) and some of the items you were instructed to open use more than one package for your meal.  There was also a menu sheet that told you how many of each item to use per meal.  It included two drink packages per meal.  All you do is add water.  Easy.

We only made three drink packages, with each making 8 ounces.  I looked at the nutrition label for it and although it had some vitamins and minerals in it there was no vitamin C.  I thought that was odd.  You’d just sort of expect fake orange drink to have vitamin C.   The drink tasted like orange Koolaid.  The grandkids said it was better than orange Koolaid.  I’m not getting into a Koolaid debate.  It was flavored sugar water.

I don’t remember it explaining in the ad that each item needed to be cooked for 10-20 minutes.  It says to boil the water, stir in the food, then simmer for that amount of time.  That would be a lot if you were concerned about cooking fuel. I could boil up the water and then use much less of the water and mix it together and put it into my ice chest slow cooker and leave it there all day.  It would probably cook up that way.  I will have to try it.  For last night’s dinner we just used two pots on the stove.

Boy and I had the Chicken Teriyaki.  Girl had the Beef Stew.  We had some left over spaghetti noodles from a couple days ago that Girl had smothered with peanut oil.  I figured that would be good to go with the dinner, especially since I didn’t know how large or small the portions would be.  For the chicken teriyaki, the picture on the label shows nice chunks of chicken on top of rice.  Boy opened the package and asked where the chicken was.  See these little specks of white that aren’t the pieces of rice?  That’s the chicken.  You were expecting large pieces?  The final product was a little runny.  I could have cooked it more but since we were putting this over the noodles I figured a little sauce would be good.  And it was.   

Girl loves DInty Moore beef stew and will eat an entire can for a meal.  This smelled like Dinty Moore so I thought she would like it. It didn’t look like Dinty Moore.  There were no chunks, just small pieces.  The peas were probably the largest pieces of food or vegetable.  Even the potato pieces were half the size of the peas.  And meat?  I think it was all TVP with beef flavor.  As I said, it smelled good.  Girl took a taste and said she couldn’t eat it.  Too salty.  She passed her bowl on to me.  I took a taste.  It tasted like stew flavored salt.  Even the bottomless pit Boy took a taste and said no!  What to do with the stew?  I tried to feed it to the dogs and cats.  They eat anything…except the Emergency Essentials Beef Stew. 

The bucket suggested that you should use more than one package for your meal.  Most meals use two or even three packages.  One package did make enough for one person, if they were not a big eater.  If we didn’t have the noodles we would have walked away hungry.   

I will also use my slow cooker method to see if cooking them that way will work.  The texture doesn’t compare to Mountain House, or even the bucket that I bought previously from Costco.  I am hoping that the beef stew package had an accidental double helping of salt and the rest of the beef stew packs will be alright.  I won’t plan a dinner around it though!  We will try the other dishes soon. 


  1. I had a similar experience with the "ARC" brand bucket of food. It was made up of mostly instant oatmeal packs, Tang and elbow pasta. I tested some of it and ended up tossing the entire $100 bucket in the garbage.

  2. We've been discussing how our food saving has changed over time. This will be one to avoid.

  3. We tried the potato soup and Boy and I both really liked it. Girl didn't. It tasted homemade and I would be happy to eat it again. The downside to this is it takes 15 minutes to cook. Next time we will try cooking it a different way but at least it was good enough to want to have it again!